I've been using Nottingham ale yeast almost exclusively for the past 6 months (about 10 batches) with no problems. Always quick to start and tears my typical ale worts apart in a day or so, whether I use 1 or 2 packets, re-hydrated or not. I'm branching out using this WLP051 since the new Surf Brewery just opened here in town and they had it in stock in their homebrew shop. I certainly learned my lesson and will always make starters with liquid yeast from now on - just to save the stress of that initial 50 hours of watching and waiting.
All that being said, I'll probably pitch my next batch right on top of this yeast cake to get my money out of it.